To What extent was Hitler responsible for the outbreak of WW2
If you asked an average person why World War II happened, they would most likely blame it on Hitler. This accusation would be partly accurate; after all it was the Fuhrer who led the German army into Poland on September 1st 1939, officially beginning the war. But, if you take a closer look, examine the facts; you can see that numerous events lead up to this point (many of which had little to do with Hitler personally). One of the first actions, which in the long run lead to the outbreak of war, was ironically the peace Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
The Treaty had many points concerning Germany, which were very harsh (they were forced to pay a huge war fee, demilitarize Rhineland, stop the production of weapons etc. ). The victorious countries thought that this would make Germany weaker, and prevent it from attacking anybody. Unfortunately, quite the opposite happened, the German people were profoundly unpleased with the outcome of World War I. The Treaty caused hatred towards everyone who agreed with it. The Wall Street Crash of 1929, one of the main reasons Hitler gained enough support to become chancellor. Why?
Because the crisis spread all the way to Europe, Germany included. Hitler seemed to know a cure for all misfortunes of the Weimar Republic. He offered jobs for the unemployed. Had the Jews and communists to blame for all the calamities, and offered to basically get rid of them. These ideas along with some amazing propaganda made Hitler chancellor in 1933. Now, that he was one of the most influential people in Germany, he could easily determine it’s fate. One of the things that pushed the Fuhrer to invade Poland was the fact that the League of Nations was practically powerless.
This was insinuated when Italy invaded Abyssinia (both members of the League), and got away with it. Italy was a powerful country, and all the other members could do to try stopping it was threaten sanction (which wasn’t even an effective threat, because there was plenty of other places from which Italy could get it’s resources). When everyone saw how poorly the strong members had handled this situation, they got the basic idea that the League of Nations was not as effective as it was supposed to be, and that a strong country is likely to get away with breaking some of the rules.
Not only did the League seem insubstantial, but so did Great Britain and France. They seemed to have no reaction whatsoever to Hitler repeatedly breaking more and more rules of the Treaty of Versailles. All of the above actions, to some extent lead up to the outbreak of World War II. But to what extent was Hitler responsible? His actions are probably most visible at first glance. He was the man who began the war, after all. But would he have done it if Germany had been treated fairly after World War I, and it’s people were satisfied with the outcome? Would anybody be willing to vote for the Nazi party if there had been no crisis?
From what I’ve deduced, Germany would most likely not have sought revenge if it had been fairly treated. Hitler wouldn’t want to gain more land, or make the country more powerful, as it would never have gotten weak. There would never have been any “November Criminals” to blame. Hitler’s actions, which led up to the outbreak of war, started happening after he had been appointed chancellor (became influential). But if the world depression hadn’t happened, people wouldn’t have had good reasons to vote for his extremist party, as they would most likely have been satisfied with the “calmer” centralized parties.
In conclusion, Hitler was responsible for the outbreak of the Second World War to a certain extent. But the most important causes (which ultimately gave him power) had happened prior to when he was appointed chancellor. Germany didn’t need Hitler in person to begin the war, as it was tilting it that direction ever since 1919. He was just the man who pushed it across the borderline. Maybe the war wouldn’t have happened if Hitler had never become the Fuhrer, but The Weimar Republic would have stayed unsatisfied, and, sooner or later another person would have come along to change that.